Tag Archives: Kristen Bell

Review: Frozen

Frozen_PosterBetter prepare yourself for many days’ worth of running around singing, “Let it go, let it go,” because there’s no way you’re walking out of “Frozen” without a pep in your step, massive smile on your face and the desire to build a snowman.

“Frozen” features the voices of Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel as Anna and Elsa, the princess of Arendelle. As kids, Anna and Elsa are inseparable. But, when Elsa realizes that she’s got the ability to create snow and ice, she also realizes that her newfound powers put her loved ones at risk. In an effort to keep Anna safe, Elsa takes off into the mountains, but buries a summertime Arendelle in a winter’s worth of elements along the way. Now, with the help of a mountain man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his lovable and loyal reindeer Sven, and Olaf (Josh Gad), a snowman with a thing for summer, Anna must trek up the mountain and convince her sister to thaw their home.

Writer-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee cracked “The Snow Queen.” Disney’s been trying to develop a big screen version of the Hans Christian Andersen story for quite some time and while “Frozen” is far from a straightforward adaptation of that work, the deviations are brilliant and turn the final feature into a piece that’s got a classical appeal, but also wholly relatable modern twists.

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Interview: Frozen’s Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel & Josh Gad

frozentvarticle2Looking for something to warm your heart as we roll into winter? Disney’s got you covered with Frozen. (Come on; it was too easy and the film deserves it!)

Growing up, sisters Anna and Elsa (voiced by Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel) were inseparable, however, when Elsa’s ability to conjure snow and ice starts to grow out of control, Elsa resorts to seclusion to keep her loved ones safe. With Arendelle buried in wintry elements right in the middle of Summer, it’s up to Anna, a mountain man named Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), his reindeer Sven and Olaf (Josh Gad), a living, breathing snowman with a thing for warm hugs, to track down Elsa and thaw the kingdom once and for all.

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Review: Movie 43

Movie_43_PosterStar power is no match for tasteless, offensive and unfunny comedy.

The “Movie 43” wraparound features Dennis Quaid as a lunatic with an abysmal script who forces Greg Kinnear’s movie producer to buy the piece at gunpoint. Coincidence? Probably not, as almost each and every sketch of this comedy anthology is so silly, nauseating and degrading it seems like the only plausible way the producers could manage to recruit so much top-notch talent.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet make it through better than most. Jackman will likely never live down having a pair of testicles dangle from his neck for the sake of this movie, but between the giggle-worthy visual and the duo’s charm, “The Catch” is easily “Movie 43’s” finest few minutes. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s “Homeschooled” is another portion that at least respects its leads, but breaks down entirely when the scenario drivels on and right into a strange and unsatisfying conclusion.

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Review: Scream 4

There’s no beginning this review without acknowledging that I’m a diehard franchise fan. While I was thrilled to death over the announcement of Scream 4, of course the excitement came with a twinge of nervous skepticism. What if Scream 4 tarnished the original trilogy? Well, I’ve got good news; Scream 4 doesn’t do that in the least. While the film does boast quite a few throwbacks ranging from character traits, to comparable visuals to direct references to the original story, Scream 4 isn’t exactly a reboot; it’s more of a reimagining and if you don’t mind the change in tone, it’s quite enjoyable.

Original trilogy heroine Sidney Prescott (Never Campbell) is back in Woodsboro promoting her new book, “Out of Darkness.” Old friends Gale Weathers and Dewey Riley (Courteney Cox and David Arquette) welcome her with semi-open arms, the high school Cinema Club treats her like a town icon and others steer clear knowing everyone in Sidney’s life ultimately meets a gory demise. Sure enough, the folks running scared have the right idea because even after being Ghostface-free for a decade, the bowie knife touting serial killer douses Sid’s world in blood and carnage yet again.

Per usual, everyone’s at risk, Sidney’s publicist (Alison Brie), Sheriff Riley’s deputies (Anthony Anderson, Adam Brody and Marley Shelton) and, of course, Sid’s younger cousin, Jill (Emma Roberts). Just like Sidney back in the day, Jill comes with a band of buddies including her snarky, but devoted best friend, Kirby (Hayden Panettiere), creepy ex-boyfriend, Trevor (Nico Tortorella) and film geeks Charlie and Robbie (Rory Culkin and Erik Knudsen); or better yet Tatum, Billy and Randy divided by two. The younger generation is up on the “new rules” and the Ghostface bloodbath vets boast a degree of know-how thanks to past massacres, but each and every one of them is as vulnerable as the next and, in true franchise fashion, “everybody’s a suspect.”

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Review: Burlesque

It’s great to put your assets to good use, but if you want your film to offer an entire package, other elements need to be considered. In the case of Burlesque, writer-director Steve Antin has Christina Aguilera on the brain and nothing more. Clearly this tunnel vision works well when it come to vocals, but just about every other component is practically ignored. As good as her voice is, if you don’t have the proper camerawork to capture the action, adequate editing to make the visuals comprehensible or a well-developed story to engage viewers, you might as well have just made a CD, not a feature film.

Burlesque stars Aguilera as Ali, a small-town waitress who’s fed up with her minimal existence and craves the spotlight. She follows her dreams straight to Los Angeles, but quickly learns that a city change doesn’t mean instant success. After a number of failed auditions, Ali comes across The Burlesque, a nightclub with “The best views on the Sunset Strip.” The place is owned and run by Tess (Cher) with the help of her ex-husband Vince (Peter Gallagher) and loyal assistant Sean (Stanley Tucci). A barrage of girls hit the stage each night to wow the crowd with dance and lip-synching routines. Unfortunately, even there, a job doesn’t come easy. After being rejected by Tess, Ali takes it upon herself to go to work for the bartender, Jack (Cam Gigandet).

Their relationship goes from business to personal when her apartment is ransacked and she’s forced to bunk down at his place. The only thing stifling this budding romance is Jack’s fiancée who happens to be out of town for a few months. As things heat up at home, they heat up at work, too. Ali finally gets her chance to audition to dance on stage and makes the cut. When a music malfunction mutes the vocals, Ali takes it upon herself to sing the tune and blows away not only the audience, but Tess as well.

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Cinematical Seven: Ways For Kristen Bell To Spice Up Her Relationships

It was no surprise that after Forgetting Sarah MarshallKristen Bell opted to stick with romantic comedies. She wasn’t the film’s prime comedic relief, but her performance proved that she’s got the chops not only to provide a good laugh, but to create a genuine character as well. The problem is, by sticking with the genre, she wound up with junk like Couples Retreat and today’s new DVD/Blu-ray release, When in Rome.

Couples Retreat was one thing; she got the opportunity to star alongside Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis and Faizon Love. If she was looking to network, to sign on for a guaranteed hit or just get some face time alongside a talented bunch, this was it. What was her excuse when it came to When in Rome? Okay, Josh Duhamel is quite good looking, but surprisingly, that’s not all that counts when it comes to romance.

Katherine Heigl and Jennifer Aniston might be stuck playing the same lady in a relationship crisis for the rest of their careers, but Bell is not. The talent is there, she’s just got to find better reasons to put it to use. She needs to leave the formulaic romcoms to those doomed to the genre’s dredges for eternity, and move on to something she can make memorable. There’s no harm in staying in the land of love, but at least test the waters and explore the vast amount of more unconventional relationships out there. Why not give one of these a shot?

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Review: When In Rome

When a movie’s tagline is “Did you ever wish for the impossible?” you know you’re in trouble. Screenwriters David Diamond and David Weissman should have cut back on the wishing and directed their time and energy towards putting together a funnier script. The duo takes a hopeful premise and drags it down with a colossal amount of cliché gags and uncomfortably awkward moments.

Beth is 100% committed to her job as an art curator leaving zero time to have a guy in her life, which is evident in the film’s opening scene. While hosting a party at an art exhibit, it’s erroneously announced that Beth is engaged. Making the situation even more humiliating, the person who’s actually engaged is Beth’s ex. But don’t worry Beth, this event has absolutely no bearing upon the rest of the film and is ultimately insignificant.

The real story kicks in when her little sister informs her she’s getting married in Rome. A mix of jealously, work-related pressure and champagne leads to a wedding packed with mishaps. Luckily Beth meets the just as unfortunate Nick (Josh Duhamel), a guy who makes Beth second-guess her all-work-no-boyfriend policy. More champagne eventually lands Beth in the fountain of love committing a serious no-no, taking other people’s coins. Not only is it illegal to be prancing in the fountain, but by taking the coins, she puts their owners under a magical spell making them madly in love with her.

Once Beth returns to New York City, the problems begin, both for Beth and the audience. We’re introduced to four coin tossers, all of which are amusing at first, but quickly become annoyingly intolerable. Will Arnett is Antonio, an Italian painter and the least humorous of the bunch. There are a few cute moments between Danny Devito’s sausage king and Beth, and Dax Shepard earns a few giggles as a super vain model. A number of Lance (Jon Heder) the gothic magician moments are funny, but that character is so discomforting to watch it’s almost impossible to laugh. Heder’s saving grace is his reunion with Napoleon Dynamite co-star Efren Ramirez. Come to think of it, Ramirez may be the funniest of the supporting characters.

This is a romantic comedy, so of course our lead must have exponentially more unappealing best friends. Lead sidekick duties fall to Bobby Moynihan and Kate Micucci neither of which has one remotely funny moment. They’re completely thrown under the bus at Bell’s and Duhamel’s expense. At least their sacrifice is worth it; When in Rome’s sole positive sources are the stars. Both Bell and Duhamel have an uncanny ability to be appealing on screen no matter what ridiculous absurdity they’re engaged in.

On the whole, When in Rome is a subpar attempt at a romantic comedy. Every cheap gag is hackneyed and blush-worthy rather than deserving of a laugh. On the other hand, it does hold your attention from beginning to end. Between the magnetism of Bell and Duhamel and the mesmerizing scenic shot of Rome and New York, When in Rome is a pleasantly tolerable hour and a half. That being said, even a minute more would have been a serious problem.

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